Album Review: Against Me!, “Shape Shift With Me”

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“Shape Shift With Me,” Against Me!’s newest studio album, picks up right where 2014’s “Transgender Dysphoria Blues” left off. Lead singer, lyricist and guitarist Laura Jane Grace, a veritable LGBTQIA+ icon and rockstar extraordinaire, shreds and screams with the passion and angst of someone who has experienced true anguish and pain. A transwoman herself, Grace writes lyrics that ring true to the experiences of beaten and battered transgender youth.

“Transgender Dysphoria Blues” sat somewhere on the border between punk rock and queercore, detailing Grace’s journey of love, loss and self-acceptance as she grappled with her identity as a transwoman. “Shape Shift With Me” takes the band in a decidedly harder direction, incorporating brash drum solos and rapid-fire guitar riffs to play off of Grace’s trials and tribulations as she navigates life.

At its core, “Shape Shift With Me” is an album about fighting the good fight as a marginalized person in a cruel, bigoted world. Grace sums it up best: in punk number “12:03,” she sings, “Well if I’ve got a leg to stand on / Then I’m pretty sure that I can work myself up into a run / And I’ll keep heading your direction.” Highlights of the new release include “12:03,” “Delicate, Petite & Other Things I’ll Never Be” and “Norse Truth.”